Do you know why sayings are sayings? Same reason tourist attractions are tourist attractions. Enough people recognize both their novelty and their universality that pretty soon they, the meme, the quote, Old Faithful, Wrigley Field, become shared, popular, a destination commonly reached. And not for nothing. The Circle K on Highway 90 in southeastern Arizona is not a tourist attraction, although their 2/$3.33 chocolate covered almonds are quite the draw. It takes a greater truth of some sort to bring crowds, honesty to bring repetition, a reflection of ourselves to bring us back again to a saying or a place.
I’m giving myself another four days or so to say Happy New Year to every friend, relative, cashier, and email correspondent I meet. I’m not alone. You’ve been saying it too, and for good reason. We DO wish happiness for others, most of us, and the beginning of a whole new set of seasons, months, traditions, holidays, and goals seems like a great time to start fresh with wishing others well. Even with a new political season looming, heck, already kicking off, this is probably the closest I come all year to voluntarily projecting my own designs on everyone else’s life.
So in case you run into me at Old Faithful or the Circle K, and I toss what seems like an overused, undermeant phrase your way, here is what I mean when I say Happy New Year:
I hope your 2017 is full of healthy, delicious, soul-stirring food someone who loves you helps find, prepare, or eat. I hope you make or have enough money to feel the satisfaction of giving some away and the safety of still having enough to take care of your needs and do something fun. I hope you see beautiful miracles of nature that leave you no choice but to gasp or marvel or stare or cry or sing, and that your heart and mind are so exposed and electrified that your commitment to saving animals or acres or oceans or insects or your lettuce garden or flower beds or backyard birds grows and shows itself in surprising ways this year. I hope that you learn something challenging and good, and that you find yourself laughing harder and longer than ever before. Call it your 2017 daily ab workout. I hope you find a new way to make the world a better place, a rewarding way to create art in any form, and a simple and infinitely repeatable way to bring joy and love and pleasure to another person or two. I hope your body stays strong, your mind stays clear, and you allow yourself a change of heart. I hope you see and hear and experience more and more vividly and with more compassion than you ever have, and that the way you spend these new 365 days will make you wonder if your overflowing cup is enough to toast and quench and change the whole world. THAT’s the kind of happy I’m wishing you this new year. I hope you feel it, I hope it unfolds this way for you, and though it’s a bit much to repeat in a saying, I hope you pass it on in your own words and ways. Happy New Year.